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Thurs. AM TNT News Articles 10-27-22

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TNT

Tishwash:
The World Bank: The crises of developing countries are exacerbated by the decline of their currencies

from Iraq’s news

The World Bank has warned that currency depreciation in most developing economies may cause food and fuel prices to rise in a way that may exacerbate the food and energy crises that many of these countries are already witnessing.

The World Bank, in its latest issue of the “Commodity Market Outlook” report, indicated that “prices of most commodities measured in dollar terms have retreated from their peak levels due to fears of an imminent global recession.”

He added that “since the Ukraine crisis in February 2022 until the end of last month, the price of Brent crude oil, denominated in US dollars, decreased by about 6 percent,” but “due to the depreciation of currencies, nearly 60 percent of emerging market and developing economies that import oil witnessed an increase in oil prices in the local currency.” During this period, about 90 percent of these economies also experienced a greater increase in wheat prices in local currencies than the increase in prices in US dollars.

He pointed out that “the rise in the prices of energy commodities, which is one of the requirements of agricultural production, leads to a rise in food prices.”

During the first three quarters of 2022, the average food price inflation rate in South Asia was more than 20 percent, while the food price inflation rate in other regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia On average, it ranged between 12 and 15 percent.

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He pointed out that East Asia and the Pacific “was the only region in which the rate of food price inflation decreased, partly due to the generally stable prices of rice, the staple food in the region.”

Commenting on the report, Pablo Saavedra, World Bank Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, said that “although many commodity prices have retreated from their peak levels, they are still high compared to their averages over the past five years.”

He added, “If there is another jump in global food prices, it may prolong the challenges of food insecurity in various developing countries,” stressing the need to “adopt a set of policies in order to enhance supply supplies, facilitate distribution and support real incomes.”

He highlighted that “it is expected that oil prices will decline by 11 percent in 2023 after rising by about 60 percent in 2022,” but that “despite this decline, energy prices next year will be 75 percent higher than their average in the past five years.”

In this context, Ayhan Kosei, Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions and Director of the World Bank’s Development Prospects Group, which publishes the “Commodity Market Outlook”, said that “the combination of high commodity prices and the continued depreciation of currencies leads to an increase in inflation rates in many of countries”.

He pointed out that “policy makers in emerging and developing economies have only limited scope to manage the most visible global inflation cycle in decades,” stressing that “they must be slow and careful in defining their monetary and fiscal policies, clearly articulating their plans, and preparing for a period that may witness more inflation.” Fluctuations in the global financial and commodity markets.

With regard to the prospects for commodity prices, the report said that higher energy product prices than the expected level may “prolong inflationary pressures” as it leads to higher prices for commodities other than energy products, especially foodstuffs, which exacerbates “challenges related to food insecurity.”

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“If the slowdown in global growth rates intensifies, it may also entail significant risks, especially on crude oil and metal prices,” he added.

He explained that concerns about a possible global recession next year “really contributed to a sharp decline in copper and aluminum prices,” adding that “price volatility is likely to continue as the steps of the energy transition unfold and demand changes from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, which is beneficial on some metal producers.

He pointed out that “minerals exporters may benefit the most from the opportunities for growth in the medium term,” noting that at the same time “they can reduce the repercussions of price volatility by adopting well-designed frameworks for fiscal and monetary policies.”  link

Source: Dinar Recaps


CandyKisses:
The ministerial curriculum reveals five priorities for the Sudanese government

The ministerial curriculum revealed five priorities set for the upcoming new government headed by Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani.

These priorities came in the following order: 

1 – Combating administrative and financial corruption.

2- Addressing the phenomenon of unemployment and creating job opportunities for young people of both sexes.

3- Supporting the poor, vulnerable and low-income groups of citizens.

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4- Reforming the economic and financial sectors, especially the agricultural, industrial and banking sectors, and supporting the private sector.

5- Work urgently to improve and develop services that affect the lives of citizens.

Economist: The conflicting statements about the exchange rate caused a stagnation in the markets

On Thursday, economic expert Ali Daadoush called on the new government to activate the private sector and support the local industry, instead of thinking about changing the dollar exchange rate

Dadush told Al-Iqtisad News, “After each election and the emergence of the government formation process, events are accelerating and political voices are rising to win the people’s affection (the general public), and the shortest way for that is to change the exchange rate under the pretext of reducing poverty and unemployment

He added, “The process of changing the exchange rate does not concern the poor, but rather has a direct relationship with the rich, since the poor do not have foreign currency, but the rich and the rulers of power and politics are the ones who own the dollar. He explained, “With every formation of a new government, the internal market is destabilized and there is a severe stagnation in the buying and selling operations, which increases the suffering of the earners and the daily wage earners who join the class of the poor and the unemployed, and this is also related to the lofty political voices that seek to change the exchange rate

He called on the government to “work seriously to operate factories and factories in the public sector and support the private sector on the other hand, as the first produces goods that increase the demand for them locally, and the private sector also works to import goods that the government does not produce according to a medium-term action plan, and gradually it turns Work is a partnership in the operation of factories and factories, and local production expands to include those imported goods

Tishwash:
Ahmed Tabaqchali: Iraq’s Wealth and the Forty Thieves

The disclosure on 15 October 2022 of the embezzlement of 3.7 trillion Iraqi dinars (IQD), about US$2.5 billion, from the General Commission of Taxes (GCT) brought the stinging resignation letter of the outgoing finance minister into sharp focus – in particular, the charge that ‘vast underground networks of senior officials, corrupt businessmen and politicians operate in the shadows to dominate entire sectors of the economy, and siphon off literally billions of dollars from the public purse.’

The disclosure was greeted by cries demanding a thorough investigation, and for imposing punitive measures on the perpetrators and the corrupt officials who facilitated it.

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Righteous indignation notwithstanding, severe punishments and new measures to root out corruption are doomed to fail, as were all prior anti-corruption measures, because the root causes are inherent in the post-2003 political order’s politically sanctioned corruption; and the inevitable politicisation of the senior civil service, which have hollowed out the state and its institutional capacity to function.

In particular, the Ministry of Finance (MoF), is structurally weak and ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of managing the state’s budget. Specifically, the absence of coherent revenue and expenditure management policies and systems, i.e., a Public Financial Management (PFM) system, combined with the prevalence of decades old paper-based systems, makes it impossible for the government to monitor its finances, in particular its cash management operations.

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

The audacity of the embezzlement is matched only by the ease and impunity with which it was carried out.

The funds were taken from a GCT trust account held on behalf of tax payers with Rafidain Bank, which receives deposits from companies that deal with the state as a guarantee for the fulfilment of their contractual obligations. Companies can reclaim the deposits, after an audit and the settlement of their contractual obligations, including taxes. However, due to the complexity of the procedures, and to avoid paying full taxes, many companies don’t reclaim their deposits, which after five years become the state’s property.

Between September 2021 and August 2022, 247 cheques totalling IQD 3.7 trillion were made to five companies, which withdrew the funds in cash as soon as they were deposited into their accounts. These companies did not make any deposits into the trust account, had no authorisations from the companies that made deposits, and at least three of them were formed in the summer of 2021. Nevertheless, the financial report of the GCT’s accounting department, as of 9 October 2022, stated that the balances of the trust account totalled IQD 3.5 trillion, whereas the actual account balances were IQD 0.1 trillion. Moreover, these payments were not recorded in the books, and were in violation of the minister of finance’s November 2021 instructions that no payments should be processed without following procedures and his explicit approval.

The Sad State of the Ministry of Finance

Lacking a sound PFM, the MoF operates without an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) which electronically links budget planning, budget execution, accounting and reporting of all government entities; exacerbated by the absence of a Treasury Single Account (TSA), which consolidates all the government’s accounts in a single account controlled by the MoF. As such the MoF has a tenuous control over government entities’ expenditures, and only a partial knowledge of its cash balances.

An IFMIS and a TSA, or even ‘bridging solutions’ till they are fully operational, would have made it extremely difficult to facilitate such an embezzlement, as the two would create an extensive and transparent paper-trail of all transactions. Effectively, under a TSA the cash balances of the trust account would have returned to the management of the MoF and not GCT; and the processing of deposits’ release – from application to audit to final payment – would be through a well-established protocol under IFMIS – which would come with an ‘ex ante’ electronic control of every expenditure transaction.

The White Paper and Resistance from Within

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Two key aspects of the ‘White Paper for Economic Reform’, were to address the MoF’s structural weaknesses through the introduction of a PFM system, by reviving the long-stalled implementation of an IFMIS and a TSA; and to restructure state-owned banks Rafidain and Rasheed. While this has moved both projects from their multi-year aspirational phases to the realms of the possible, the system valiantly resisted – more passively than aggressively in the face of a strong push from the leadership of the MoF from May 2020 until October 2022.

Technical challenges and capacity limitations are significant obstacles to the implementation of IFMIS and TSA; while Rafidain Bank’s deep structural weaknesses present a major obstacle to its restructuring and to the roll-out of a modern core banking system – vital for TSA’s smooth functioning. While these obstacles are difficult to overcome in the short period since the White Paper, nevertheless they were the impetus for the system’s push-back.

Without these implementations, starting with bridging solutions, no amount of procedure tightening for the release of funds from the trust account, or adding external auditors, would realistically prevent future occurrences of other acts of embezzlement from the trust account or other government accounts.

A Feature and Not a Bug

Consequently, each government entity continues to have nearly full autonomy over its expenditures and bank accounts, making central accountability and effective governance a pipe dream. As such – whether by design or a happy coincidence – this state of affairs maintains the substantiveness of ministerial appointments within the Muhasasa Ta’ifia structure, and within its Wikala sub-structure for the appointments of senior civil servants.

The persistence of Muhasasa, with the appointment of a new president and the nomination of PM designate, maintains the status quo; which for the MoF means that the implementations of IFMIS and TSA, as well the restructuring of Rafidain Bank, are again purely aspirational.

Consequently, corruption with impunity will continue to be the norm and not the exception.  link

Source: Dinar Recaps

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